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Safer Pest Control for Child Care Centers

How to Implement an Integrated Pest
Management (IPM) Program at Your Facility

Safer Pest Control Project 4611 N. Ravenswood Ste. 107, Chicago, IL 60640
Phone: 773-878-7378 fax: 773-878-8250

A Fact Sheet from the Safer Pest Control Project

What is Integrated Pest Management

IPM is a pest management strategy that focuses
on long-term prevention or suppression of pest
problems through a combination of practices:

regular pest population monitoring
site or pest inspections
an evaluation of the need for pest control
resident education
structural, mechanical, cultural, and
biological controls

Techniques used to incorporate IPM include
such methods as:

improve sanitation
pest-proofing disposal of garbage
building maintenance
other non-chemical tactics, such as steel
wool, traps, screens for floor drains, and
insulation for hot and cold water pipes

Least-hazardous pesticides should be selected
only as a last resort, thus minimizing the toxicity
of and exposure to any pesticide products that
are used.

Why is IPM Important?

Unfortunately, the wide availability of pesticides
and the perception that they are the only way to
control pests, can lead to excessive pesticide use
in places like day care centers, schools, homes,
office buildings, parks, and yards. If spraying
alone really worked, why would the pests (and
the exterminators) keep coming back? IPM is an
economical method of pest control that deals
with the root causes and not just the symptoms
of pest problems.

Pesticides and Human
Health: Is There a Concern?

Pesticides are substances designed to
kill, control or repel pests, weeds,
insects, rodents and molds. If used irresponsibly
they can result in serious injury or even death.

Many pesticides currently in widespread use
have been linked to long term health problems,
including cancer, birth defects, endocrine
disruption, asthma, neurological disorders, and
immune system deficiencies.

A growing body of evidence indicates that
children are especially vulnerable. For example,
in September 2002, Environmental Health
Perspectives published a study with findings that
suggest “exposure to household pesticides is
associated with an elevated risk of childhood
According to the US EPA, Office of
Research and Development’s Asthma Research
Strategy, “pesticides are listed as one of four
environmental pollutants that may influence the
induction and exacerbation of asthma.”

Are Pesticides Necessary?

Many people, confronted with pests in their
homes, school or child care center turn first to
pesticides. But pest control doesn’t have to be
toxic! Pests survive and thrive only if they have
access, food, water and shelter. IPM (endorsed
and promoted by the Environmental Protection
Agency and the Illinois Department of Public
Health) includes non toxic steps to control pests,
such as traps (indoor rodents) and least-toxic
baits (insect pests) and uses the least-hazardous
pesticides only as a last resort. Pesticide
“bombs” and routine sprays are avoided

Safer Pest Control Project 4611 N. Ravenswood Ste. 107, Chicago, IL 60640
Phone: 773-878-7378 fax: 773-878-8250

Starting IPM:
Thinking Like a Pest

It might not sound nice, but
thinking like an insect or rodent
will help you solve pest problems.
Pests have different definitions of acceptable
food and hiding places than a human does. Pests
will eat garbage, garden waste, and even the glue
in cardboard boxes. Pests will live in false
ceilings, dumpsters, under stoves, and behind
refrigerators. And obviously, pests are
significantly smaller than we are. They can enter
a building through small cracks and openings,
such as those under a door or in a window
screen. Even larger pests like rats can squeeze
through an opening as small as ½ inch. Viewing
your day care from this perspective will help you
identify potential and current sources of pest

IPM is Common Sense Pest Control

The most effective way to control pests is to
address the cause of the pest problem directly.
For example, sealing up openings that allow
pests to enter a building is an effective and safe
method of pest management. Also, by
eliminating the habitat or food source that
attracts a pest in the first place, the pest problem
can be controlled or prevented.

Many areas are perfect environments for pests.
Therefore it is not surprising that pest problems
are common. Addressing the causes of the pest
problems, such as access, food, water, and
places to hide, can eliminate or significantly
reduce pest problems. Methods to address the
cause of pest problems include:

Exclusion: eliminating pests’ access to a
building or area by plugging holes,
cracks, and other entryways.

Sanitation: cleanliness
and better garbage
management practices
reduce access to food, water, and hiding

Habitat modification: changing the
environment to make it less inviting to
pests. For example, reducing clutter
which provides pests’ easy places to hide.

Maintenance: addressing
problems like leaking
pipes or faucets that
provide a favorable
habitat or food source to

With safer, more effective alternatives available,
why risk using and storing pesticides? Try
common sense, non-toxic methods first. Turn to
least hazardous toxic pesticides only as a last
resort and avoid routine spraying, bombing, and
fogging altogether.

Hiring and Working with a Pest Control
Company for IPM Services

When looking for a pest control company, look
carefully for the IPM services. The services you
should expect will include, among other things:
• Development of a pest monitoring program,
including regular inspections of potential
problem sites, use of glue boards and traps,
pest identification and record keeping.
• A site assessment and recommendations for
structural repairs, physical and/or cultural
changes to prevent and control pests.
• Regular communication with staff regarding
pest control practices and pest monitoring
• Application of least-hazardous effective pest
controls which may or may not include
applying pesticide products. Pesticide
applications shall be by need and not by
• Parents and staff must be notified of
pesticide applications. The contractor shall
work with the day care center to ensure full

Safer Pest Control Project 4611 N. Ravenswood Ste. 107, Chicago, IL 60640
Phone: 773-878-7378 fax: 773-878-8250
compliance with Illinois’ notification
• The contractor shall not apply any pesticide
without obtaining approval from the
appropriate personnel at the day care center.
• Pesticide applications should be scheduled
for when the building and grounds are not
• The contractor shall work with the day care
center to ensure that toys and other items
mouthed or handled by children are removed
from the area before pesticides are applied as
is required by Illinois law.
• The contractor will schedule applications for
times when occupants will not return to the
treated area for at least 2 hours after a
pesticide application or as specified on the
pesticide label, whichever time is greater, as
is required by Illinois law.
• Evaluation of control measures and reporting
of results.

A good IPM contractor will conduct an initial
site inspection assessment before submitting a
bid for services. In hiring a contractor, you are
responsible for ensuring that Illinois law
regarding pesticide use in daycare centers is
followed. You must communicate upfront with
the contractor about your needs and pest

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Resources

Manuals and handbooks

Integrated Management of Structural Pests in Schools and A Practical Guide to Common Pests in
Schools. These are both available free from IDPH. Call 217/782-5830 or download a copy from under “A-Z topics”, hit “P” for pests.

Integrated Pest Management and Notification Handbook. Available free from the Illinois State Board of
Education. Call 217/785-8779 or download a copy from:
IPM for Schools: A How-To Manual. Published by Bio-Intregral Resource Center (BIRC). Available for
$50.00. Contact BIRC at 510/524-2567.

IPM Standards for Schools: A Program for Reducing Pests and Pesticide Risks in Schools and Other
Sensitive Environments. Available from the IPM Institute. Contact the IPM Institute at 608-232-1528 or
download a copy from:


Integrated Pest Management in Schools: A Better Method
Produced by Safer Pest Control Project (SPCP). Available for $6. Call SPCP at 312/641-5575 or
download an order form at

Websites Safer Pest Control Project’s website University of Florida’s School IPM website University of Illinois Urban IPM website Purdue University’s School IPM website

Safer Pest Control Project 4611 N. Ravenswood Ste. 107, Chicago, IL 60640
Phone: 773-878-7378 fax: 773-878-8250 IPM Institute of North America’s website US Environmental Protection Agency School IPM website


Safer Pest Control Project (SPCP)
4611 N. Ravenswood Ste. 107, Chicago, IL 60640
ph: 773/878-7378 fax: 773/878-8250

Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH)
Fred Riecks, Structural Pest Control Program, 525 W. Jefferson St., Springfield, IL 62761
ph: 217/782-5830 fax: 217/785-0253

Illinois Dept. of Agriculture (IDA)
Tom Walker, Bureau of Environmental Programs, Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL 62706
ph: 217/785-2427 fax: 217/524-4882

University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service (CES)
Phil Nixon, Dept. of Nat. Resources, 103 Vegetable Crops Bldg, 1103 S. Dorner, Urbana, IL 61801
ph: 217/333-6650

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Donald Baumgartner, Region 5, Pesticides and Toxics Branch, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Pesticides
Program Section, DRT – 8J, Chicago, IL 60604-3590
Ph: 312-886-7835 fax: 312-353-4788

IPM Technical Resource Center (and toll-free School and Day Care IPM Hotline)
Al Fournier, Dept. of Entomology, 1158 Smith Hall, Purdue University, W. Lafayette, IN 47907
ph: 1-877-668-8IPM

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Poisons, 4
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2. Porter, W.P., Jaeger, J.W. and Carlson, I.H.: Endocrine, immune and behavioral effects of aldicarb
(carbamate), atrazine (triazine) and nitrate (fertilizer) mixtures at groundwater concentrations, Toxicology
and Industrial Health. 15:1-2:133-150. 1999.
3. Raloff, J.: The Gender Benders: Are environmental ‘hormones’ emasculating wildlife? Science News.
145:24-27. 1994.
4. Xiaomei, M., Vuffler, P.A., Gunier, R.B., Dahl, G., smith, M.T., Reinier, K. and Reynolds, P.: Critical
Windows of Exposure to Household Pesticides and Risk of Childhood Leukemia. Environmental Health
Perspectives. 110:9:955-960. 2002.